Books on the Inquisition

The following is a list of books on the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. I hope to add to the list in other blog posts and will eventually add it to a separate page on the website.

The first title authored by Henry Kamen is a revisionist approach to the Inquisition. In my opinion, the attempt to contextualize Inquisitional tactics against the backdrop of medieval and early modern legal and prosecutorial practices misses the point of the severity and fear experienced by those who endured its reign.

We must, I believe, be honest enough not to mischaracterize the Inquisition as the “Holocaust” of Iberian Jewry because of the disparity in numbers and because the goal of the Inquisition was not the elimination of Conversos, but rather Judaizing. However, we should not forget the real threat and danger that Iberian Conversos and their overseas relations suffered under its hand.

The second title, authored by Joseph Perez is a short work. Perez has also authored a short general history of Sephardic Jews which I recommend.

This edition of Juan Antonio Llorente’s classic work on the Inquisition has been retyped set. The original work was written with Llorente’s unique position, having worked for the Inquisition during its final years. While highly biased and deficient in many areas, it remains interesting.

In many ways, Jean Plaidy’s work seems like a rework of Charles Lea’s classic works on the Inquisition, though very much condensed.

The massive work of Benzion Netanyahu is of course unmatched in many ways, though the controversial position adopted by Netanyahu, i.e. that Crypto-Judaism was essentially a farce and the Inquisition was responsible for creating the few legitimate cases of Crypto-Judaism is largely rejected today. Today, there are many critiques of Netanyahu’s thesis.

One work that highlights the historical challenges of studies on the Inquisition is Anna D.  Abrera’s The Tribunal of Zaragoza and Crypto-Judaism: 1484-1515. I highly recommend this work. The only challenge is that is very expensive.

Roger L. Martínez-Dávila is a past present of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies. I have had the pleasure of meeting him and listening to several talks he has given. I have not read this book yet, but am looking forward to doing so and have not doubt about the contribution it will make to the subject of Conversos and the Inquisition.

Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, Fourth Edition

Josep Perez, The Spanish Inquisition: A History

Cecil Roth, The Spanish Inquisition

Charles River, Editor, The Spanish Inquisition: The History and Legacy of the Catholic Church’s Notorious Persecution of Heretics

Juan Antonio Llorente, The History of the Inquisition of Spain from the Time of its Establishment to the Reign of Ferdinand VII.

Jean Plaidy, The Spanish Inquisition: Its rise, growth, and end

Benzion Netanyahu, The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain

Rafaeld Sabatini, Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition; A History

Lu Ann Homza, The Spanish Inquisition: 1478-1614

Roger L. Martínez-Dávila  (Author), Josef Díaz (Author), Ron D. Hart (Author), Fractured Faiths / Las fes fracturadas: Spanish Judaism, the Inquisition, and New World Identities / El judaísmo español, la Inquisición y identidades nuevo mundiales (English and Spanish Edition)

Anna D.  Abrera’s The Tribunal of Zaragoza and Crypto-Judaism: 1484-1515.

Posted by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and the author of Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism.

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